Abortion Bans and Cruelty

Journal of Practical Ethics (forthcoming)
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Abortion bans have been characterized as cruel especially in not allowing exceptions for rape or incest. The article first examines one approach to morally justifying bans based on the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) which distinguishes morally between killing or letting die intending death versus doing so only foreseeing death. It then presents some criticisms of the implications of the DDE but also argues that what the doctrine permits helps provide a ground for the permissibility of abortions even if the fetus is a person. Whether there are limits on applying this argument is also considered. In conclusion, the article considers whether and why not permitting exceptions to bans for rape and incest is cruel and whether cruelty is a ground for opposition to bans.

Author Profiles

Frances Kamm
Harvard University
Frances Myrna Kamm
Rutgers University - New Brunswick


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